The Blessing of Abram
Reflecting on the First Sunday after Christmas: One Day after Sunday (Year A)
Psalter: Psalm 20
Old Testament: Genesis 12:1-7
Epistle: Hebrews 11:1-12
God of glory, your splendor shines from a manger in Bethlehem, where the Light of the world is humbly born into the darkness of human night. Open our eyes to Christ’s presence in the shadows of our world, so that we, like him, may become beacons of your justice, and defenders of all for whom there is no room. Amen.
Now the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed’ (Genesis 12:1-3).
These verses begin the high point of Genesis: the story of Abraham. Before this, the book narrated the fall of humanity: from disobedience, to murder, to universal corruption, to multiple languages. Genesis 1-11 described the world’s chaotic condition at the time of the patriarch. These chapters ended with a genealogy that tied Shem, son of Adam, to Abram (later to be renamed “Abraham”).
Genesis 12 opened with a call and a promise. If Abram left his country to follow his God, Abram would be blessed with land, progeny, and a great name. More important, he would receive universal blessing. His faith would reverse the tide of sin that separated peoples. Abram would be God’s rallying point to reunite humanity.
In a sense, God’s promise has been fulfilled. The three great Western religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, all call Abraham “Father.” Almost two billion people owe a spiritual allegiance to an ancient man who received the blessing of God.
How has God’s promises been fulfilled in your life?
PRAYER: Light of life, you came in flesh, born into human pain and joy, and gave us power to be your children. Grant us faith, O Christ, to see your presence among us, so that all of creation may sing new songs of gladness and walk in the way of peace. Amen.
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